Nineteen communist rebels were formally presented to Governor Pax S. Mangundadatu at the Provincial Capitol in Sultan Kudarat.
Col. Ezra Balagtey, the spokesperson of Eastern Mindanao Command, said most of the surrenderees were members of guerrilla fronts 72 and 73 of the Far South Mindanao Region, which operates in Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato, and Davao del Sur.The provinces are all under the responsibility of the 1002nd Infantry Brigade.
According to Col. Adonis Bajao, the brigade commander, the surrender was the result of the series of focused military operations and community support program of the unit.
Five of them surrendered last February 9 after an encounter in Barangay New Baguio, Makilala, Cotabato.
Three more rebels from Barangay Sukob, Columbio, Sultan Kudarat decided to surrender bringing along with them high-powered firearms.
Another eleven NPAs surrendered to the Philippine National Police and 33rd Infantry Battalion last March 25, 2019 in Senator Ninoy Aquino, Sultan Kudarat.
Accordingly, they were tasked to burn the heavy equipment of big construction companies in Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato. They were told that these companies are not giving in to the NPA’s revolutionary tax demands.
He said they were told the infrastructure projects are intended to benefit the capitalists. One particular project is the farm-to-market road in Barangay Sukob, which runs through Barangay Colonsabak up to Barangay Lamalit, all in Matanao, Davao del Sur.
Apparently, the surrenderees were told by their own villagers that the project will open access for the farmers to trade their goods in a nearby market.
Lt. Col. Rhojun Rosales, the commander of 39th IB, said they are grateful for the support of the people in disseminating the Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program, in remote villages, particularly indigenous communities.
“This effort should be propagated and sustained to ultimately end the deception of the (NPA),” Rosales said.
Mangundadatu, for his part, said the government is sincere in its offer of peace and he assures the surrenderees of their personal safety as they peacefully return to their families.